I never would have imagined that a rebrand could turn into something like this, but when I saw women supporting women in this way, I watched sparks fly! I watched raw beauty emerge from the depths where it was hiding. I watched tears stream down the faces of women as they began to connect with themselves and each other in ways that a simple conversation might not have allowed.
And then, in my typical nature, I had an idea. I have a lot of big ideas, but this one was different. This one would not leave me. I dreamt about it often.
In 2020 we started developing programs for girls ages 10-17 years-old who could use the same encouragement I gained from the Universal Beauty project. And then, in 2021, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. After surgery and weight gain, I realized more than ever the importance of loving my body. Cancer changed me and I no longer felt at home in my body. I found myself rejecting the body I once loved. I am motivated now more than ever to help our young boys and girls embrace their entire selves, no matter what size, age, gender, race, religion, ability or otherwise.
Please help us get started by purchasing any of the Prioritize Joy merch that was designed with this idea in mind. In addition to the photos you see here, there is a video full of women speaking about their idea of universal beauty.
What started out as a simple photo shoot for my website turned into something so much more powerful than I could have ever imagined!
It began one late spring morning in a cold pond with 6 willing women each were asked to prepare a little more than their adventurous spirit the goal was to create beautiful photos within water but the outcome was far more powerful. Instead of having artist/model/spectator, we organically became collaborators. Each person fell fairly effortlessly into multiple roles: lighting assistant, hair, wardrobe, morale-booster, giver of warmth, art director. And each transitioned fluidly from roll-to-roll as needed.
We became a band of women invested in each other's success. We wanted to do it again and again. Under this model, my original partner for the shoot Meg, said we should do this with all the elements, earth, air, fire and water. And thus the framework for future sessions was born. The collection became less about the final product and more about the process of creating one United Universe, women sharing their wide variety of strengths, showing vulnerability and relating to one another.
The energy of the group created a safe space where each person could experiment with trust and confidence and that shows in their faces. I may have my name attached to these but they would not exist the same way without all of the other women who decided to become vulnerable and let their authentic beauty be shown.
You can see more of Emily's work and watch the whole video at TriTownProductions.com